Cycling is a physically demanding pastime that can place a great deal of strain on your feet. The excessive, constant pressure can pinch the nerves, cause muscle imbalances and result in severe foot and leg pain. The following tips will help if you regularly encounter problems.
Do Some Sole Searching
When you're buying cycling shoes, remove the insole and take off your socks. Sit down in front of a mirror and hold the insole in front of you. Place your bare foot against the insole and look at the reflection to see if your foot protrudes from the borders of the insole. If it does, you'll need a wider shoe.
Change Your Pedal/Pedalling Technique
With constant pressure on one part of your foot, the load can become overbearing very quickly. Move your cleats closer to your heel or use pedals with a larger platform. This will evenly distribute the pressure across your foot, rather than placing all the strain on your forefoot.
Use Athletic Socks
Thick socks don't provide breathing space, which can cause excessive pressure and numbness – especially on the toes. In addition, when you sweat, the fabric could cause friction and lead to blisters. Consider buying thin athletic socks with acrylic or polypropylene fibres as they will trap moisture, prevent blisters and cushion the feet.
Make Sure Your Shoes Fit!
If your shoes are too large, your feet will slide around. This will cause friction. When you're buying new cycling shoes, wear the same socks you'd wear if you were cycling. Your feet should be snug and comfortable, but not tight and restrictive.
Improve Your Cycling Posture
Your feet should remain straight on the pedals with your heel directly under the ankle. The downward force from the leg should be evenly distributed across the foot. If you have high-arched feet, you will naturally distribute this force to the ball or heel of your foot, which will cause more pressure on your glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and quads. This could overwork the muscles. In these circumstances, a supportive insole is crucial to retain the correct posture.
Poor cycling technique and improper footwear can cause various foot and leg problems, such as cartilage deterioration, Achilles tendinitis and shin splints. If you ever encounter problems, stop cycling and seek aid from a podiatrist. A podiatrist can assess the position of your foot on the bicycle pedal and provide both specialised and general foot care advice regarding footwear and stabilisation. This can not only prevent injuries and improve comfort but could also increase leg power.